Most kids grow up not only watching Disney, but breathing, eating and drinking Disney. Disney makes more than movies — they make dreams. So many kids fantasize about working for Disney one day, either as an animated princess or a real-life imagineer, and a lucky few actually get to see their wish become reality.
Disney has plenty of top-notch exclusive programs for students of all stripes, and their culinary program is certainly not to be missed. If you’ve wished upon a star to learn the culinary arts from your favorite childhood dream-makers, here’s all you need to know about the program.
What Are the Requirements?
- You must be currently enrolled in a culinary school or college degree program to be admitted into the Disney Culinary Program. Additionally, you must currently meet all requirements of your current school to be eligible for the program; this might entail a minimum GPA or number of completed credit hours.
- You must have unrestricted work authorization. This means there are no court orders or medical reasons you cannot work in certain conditions.
- And finally, you must be 18 years or older by the time the program begins.
If you meet these few requirements, here’s what you have to look forward to!
What Does the Program Entail?
The Disney Culinary Program takes place only at the Walt Disney World parks in Orlando, Florida. There are regularly two types of position available for applicants to the program: cook’s culinary assistant and baker’s culinary assistant. If you want to get a (virtual) taste of the restaurants you might create food for, check out the listing here; meanwhile, here’s some info on the two categories:
- Culinary Assistant, Cook II. Participants with this position will be working in an a la carte, buffet or food court environment. This will require quick service as well as amazing teamwork skills. To enhance your culinary abilities, you’ll be deep-frying, sautéing, roasting, boiling and grilling a variety of foods, allowing you to memorize key recipes and understand basic culinary ground rules, like station set up and catering.
- Culinary Assistant, Baking & Pastry. Those with a slightly sweeter tooth may prefer a position in the bakery, where you’ll be learning the technical skills of plated desserts as well as muffins, breads, cakes, petit fours and wedding cakes. You’ll quickly learn mixing and baking as well as learning the recipes required for Disney’s iconic baked goods.
Both positions will gain intimate working knowledge of restaurant NEHA standards, the federal requirements for maintaining health in the working environment. You’ll never be wanting for activity; with all the hustle and bustle of the parks, it’s likely you’ll cook as many as 22,000 meals, so you’ll be a culinary wiz in no time.
Once you’ve accepted a certain position, you cannot switch to another one; you are committed to learning the ins and outs of your selected role. Still, if you demonstrate exceptional talent, you may be able to switch restaurants — who knows, you might even get to work in the prestigious Victoria & Albert’s.
Plus, a startlingly high number of the program’s participants are asked to stay as full-fledged members of the staff, so if you’re due to leave culinary school soon, you might be looking at a real career opportunity.
Unlike many temporary learning programs, you will be paid, and you’ll be able to negotiate your schedule, including days off, once you begin work. What’s more, Disney can provide you housing and transport during your entire tenure at the parks, so you won’t need to worry about finding a place to stay. These benefits are relatively unheard of for internships or externships in any industry, and Disney’s desire to train excellent chefs really makes this program basically unbeatable.
How Do I Apply?
The Disney Culinary Program is interested in applicants from all walks of life, and representatives of the program regularly give presentations on the details of the program at various culinary schools around the country. However, if you know you want in and can’t wait to get started at Disney, you can find the application online here.
Disney is in the business of making dreams come true; stop wishing on the second star to the right and get what you’ve always hoped for with the Disney Culinary Program.